Saint Aelred of Rievaulx…

…judges Francis’ idea on Jesus asking forgiveness from his parents

  • In this episode Jesus gives an example of humility and obedience and at the same time of readiness to give up one’s own will

‘How is it,’ he said, ‘that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be concerned with my Father’s business?’ (Lk 2:49). Here already he begins to disclose the secret of the heavenly mysteries in which he had been occupied for the three days. In order to give a more clearly defined and outstanding example of humility and obedience and at the same time of readiness to give up one’s own will and comply with the injunctions of elders even to one’s own disadvantage, he disengaged himself from these sublime concerns so useful and necessary, to submit himself to the will of his parents: in the words of the Evangelist: ‘He went down with them and was subject to them’ (Lk 2:51). (Saint Aelred of Rievaulx. Treatises and Pastoral Prayer, On Jesus at Twelve years old, no. 9)

  • ‘Son, why have you behaved so to us?’ – This question was not a reproach but an exclamation of love

‘Son, why have you behaved so to us? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you in sorrow.’ Again I ask you, my Lady, why did you grieve? It was, I think, not of hunger or thirst or lack of food that you were afraid for the boy who you know was God, it was only that you could not bear to be deprived even for a while of the ineffable delights you found in his presence. For the Lord Jesus is so dear to those who have some experience of him, so beautiful to those who look upon him, so sweet to those who embrace him, that a short absence on his part gives rise to the greatest pain. (Saint Aelred of Rievaulx. Treatises and Pastoral Prayer, On Jesus at Twelve years old, no. 9)